Trust in Him

Monday, June 7, 2010

Light of the World

You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Just before He said these timeless words, Jesus had just given us the eight beatitudes, the crown jewels of the saints. A thrill of excitement and wonder must have begun to circulate through the crowds. Jesus was speaking to us as intelligent children, with filial love and confidence. He seemed to have hopes that we might become friends of God and heirs to His kingdom, and was preparing us for our great heritage. He was revealing to us a more perfect way, teaching us to desire the better gifts, and promising an eternal reward beyond our comprehension. In making this distinction in us, however, He called us to continue the work of God on earth; to be an expression of His teaching.

Most people approach this privilege to be a light to the world from an exterior point of view. By examining our actions, our associations with people, and by the visible outcome of our lives we measure how purely our light is shining. But light is first interior, and then exterior. God does not come to us from outside, but knocks first on the doors of our hearts. Our hearts must ignite first with love, and then our spirits must become oriented on sanctity and goodness. Only when we have sought holiness and self-denial, only when we ourselves have sought Christ, only then can our flame become visible to others.

Those who love will suffer the most, and those who pursue righteousness nobly will thirst even more with a thirst that cannot be satisfied. Our good lives can only be an expression of a high morality within. Our expressions of love and acts of charity must be simply a sign of a charity that burns within us. Outward sensitivity to the feelings and conditions of others is apparent only when there is an inward tenderness. Therefore it is imperative that we seek first holiness in ourselves, and then, while being an example to others, speak the good news.

It is an extraordinary responsibility that God has given to us. He calls us to be good, to pursue the heavenly kingdom, but also to bring as many souls there with us as possible. "Preach the gospel, use words if necessary." These inspired words are an example of how our lives themselves should be a light to those in darkness, how we are called to BE the Gospel. There is no "half-way" in our journey. We must be ready to lay our lives upon the line, and put every drop of our faith into what we believe. If we are not, how can we convince others that it is worth believing? Our words should reflect the wisdom of our religion, therefore we must humble ask the Holy Ghost to speak to others through us. If we ask that God will help us to be His servants, that He will make us holy so that we may in turn bring others to Him, He will quickly and graciously make us His children.

Let us pray with St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

In thus fostering peace in our lives, and charitably seeking the good of others, we will be a beacon of our faith to all we meet. Let us pray that they may see the good that we do and give glory to God. Let us pray that by obtaining inner holiness our entire persons witness that we are children of God. For such is our heritage, and such is our vocation.

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